Melbourne Cup contender Make No Promise with Paul Bartolo 📷 Jason Mckeown

  • Thursday, 23 Nov, 2023,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Bartolo back in Cup frame

Everlasting memories of a glorious home-bred quinella with champion Betty’s Angel and litter sister Miss Mini Mouse in 2006 ensure the Group 1 Sportsbet Melbourne Cup is always a very special time of year for Paul Bartolo.

“It seems like yesterday!” Bartolo reflected.

While he only has four greyhounds in work, Little River-based Bartolo incredibly boasts three runners in Saturday night’s Cup heats at Sandown Park and he’s daring to dream of a second victory in the great race, 17 years on.

Bartolo’s heat trio are Storm Stroller (heat 1, box 7), Make No Promise (heat 2, box 1) and Magic Muffin (heat 8, box 2).

“It would be beautiful to make the final again and we know we’ve got at least two chances.”

Storm Stroller (Fernando Bale x Leprechaun Storm) hails from Paul and wife Diane’s potent ‘Leprechaun’ line that produced Cup heroine Betty’s Angel, while littermates Make No Promise and Magic Muffin (Fernando Bale x Veloso), bred by the Bartolos’ son Ray, descend from the immortal Paua To Burn.

The heat draw was favourable to siblings Make No Promise and Magic Muffin, and Bartolo rates the former as not only his best chance on Saturday, but the strongest Cup contender he’s had since Betty’s Angel.

Make No Promise heads into the heats having won his past two at Sandown, clocking 29.41sec and 29.54sec.

He’ll be striving to play giant-killer and deny the great Wow She’s Fast (box 2) a berth in the Cup final, with Sportsbet marking Make No Promise the $3.80 second elect behind his superstar rival at $2.10.

“I give him a really good chance, to be honest,” Bartolo said.

WATCH: MAKE NO PROMISE (B3) ran down UMBERTO (B1) to win a Melbourne Cup prelude in 29.54sec on November 2, his seventh win from 11 starts at Sandown.

“He’s only had ‘the red’ twice and he’s won both times.

“He’s a very nice dog. He lacks the early pace, but he’s a good chaser and he’s very strong. Eventually he’ll get up to 600m.”

In contrast to her brother, Magic Muffin hasn’t won since April 29, a losing streak of 12 starts, although she’s finished runner-up in half those runs, including when beaten less than a length in the G1 Maturity Classic.

Despite that run of outs, Magic Muffin is vying for favouritism in the final heat.

Magic Muffin is $3.40, with Transponder (box 3), runaway winner of the G1 Topgun from the same draw on the opening night of the Dream Chasers carnival, $3.20 favourite, and Shootout runner-up Hector Fawley (box 8) at $5.

“Magic Muffin is just as good as Make No Promise,” Bartolo said.

“She’s a chance too. She’ll rail underneath Transponder, but if Transponder jumps like he did in the Topgun I don’t think she can catch him.”


Storm Stroller sprung a major upset in last Saturday’s final round of Cup preludes, when staving off superstar New Zealand import Postman Pat, ironically a great-grandson of Bartolo’s Cup runner-up Miss Mini Mouse, in 29.58sec.

Despite that performance, Storm Stroller is once again an outsider at $34 in the opening Cup heat.

“Box seven won’t help him; he’ll do a left-hand turn,” Bartolo said.

“It did surprise me he won on Saturday, but I knew he’d upset the dogs in box one (Wynburn Ruby) and three (Postman Pat) because as soon as you box him, he does not stop barking!

“When I was interviewed behind the boxes, I said he was out of his league, but he would put the other dogs off and that’s what he did.”

Melbourne Cup contender Magic Muffin in full flight at Sandown 📷 Jason Mckeown

Magic Muffin is the most-fancied of Bartolo’s three aspirants in ‘All In’ betting at $21, with Make No Promise $26 and Storm Stroller $251.

“I’d say Make No Promise is definitely my best chance,” Bartolo said.

“We also made the Melbourne Cup final with Talk’s Cheap (4th in 2007).

“It would be beautiful to make the final again and we know we’ve got at least two chances. But all I want to do is win a Group race with one of Ray’s (son’s) dogs.”

Bartolo is also acting as caretaker trainer of G1 Bold Trease fancy Ritza Piper (heat 3, box 3), last start winner of the G1 Topgun Stayers on the opening night of the Dream Chasers Festival.

“She’s a good dog, but she’s a bad traveller, which is why Joey (Scerri) sent her down.”

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

Gerard Guthrie

One of Australia’s leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)

Up Next


In a ‘special edition’ of The Stir Up, GRV’s Gerard Guthrie and Peter Quilty – along with expert form analyst Dale Code – scrutinise the Group 1 Sportsbet Melbourne Cup ‘All In’ market and come up …